City / Coutny Digest

CITY / COUTNY DIGEST

July 25, 2008

Overdose deaths dip in the city

Deaths from drug and alcohol overdoses in Baltimore dropped slightly in the first three months of this year, compared with last year, according to data released yesterday by the Health Department.

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said it was too early to know whether the results indicated a long-term trend.

Overall, 43 city residents died from drug or alcohol poisoning. Last year, there were 45 deaths in the first quarter, but 59, 66 and 66 in the final three quarters of the year.

Of the 43 deaths, 27 were related to heroin and 14 were to cocaine. Three-quarters were male, and three-quarters were African-American.

Last year overall, 235 Baltimore residents died of overdoses, down from 244 the previous year. City health officials have said that the decrease may mean that drug use in the city is dropping.

David Kohn

Baltimore

York Road

Small fire erupts at a church

A small fire at a North Baltimore church early yesterday is believed to have started accidentally in a storage room, according to fire officials.

A fire alarm at Huber Memorial Church in the 5700 block of York Road alerted city emergency crews about 5:35 a.m. Firefighters arrived moments later and had to break in through a side entrance of the church to reach a rear storage room. They used a small amount of water to extinguish the fire; minor damage was reported.

A preliminary investigation shows that the fire was accidental and may have started in or near an electrical box, officials said.

"They did a great job," said the Rev. P.M. Smith, the pastor. The church, which has about 1,200 members, lost electricity to some of the building, and Smith said an assessment would have to be done to see what parts of the building could be used during a summer day camp for children.

Gus G. Sentementes

Region

NAACP-Scout effort to serve at-risk youths

The Maryland State Conference of the NAACP and the Baltimore Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America will collaborate to create a program serving at-risk youths, the groups announced yesterday. The pilot program, called "The First Class Camp," will attempt to increase the number of mentors available to young people in the Baltimore area. The program will be tested in Maryland but could be emulated throughout the nation, if successful. The groups will formally announce the program Tuesday.

John Fritze

Anne Arundel

Glen Burnie

Raw sewage spill shuts Furnace Creek

Twenty-five thousand gallons of raw sewage spilled into a Glen Burnie waterway, prompting the Anne Arundel County Health Department to close Furnace Creek yesterday and urge people to stay away from it.

Wednesday's storm knocked out power to the Cinder Cove Pumping Station, in the Twin Cove community, causing the wastewater flow, officials said.

The department has posted signs along Furnace Creek from Pumping Station Road to 7th Street urging everyone to avoid swimming or other direct water contact.

Those who do are asked to wash their skin and clothing.

For several years, the Health Department has warned against contact with the creek because of consistently high bacteria levels. There are no restrictions on fishing, crabbing or boating.

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